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Sister Audrey remembered for leadership and devotion to Christ

Sister Audrey remembered for leadership and devotion to Christ - (21-02-2018)

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Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Audrey Ann Jones, 92, passed away Feb. 17, 2018. She had been monastically professed for 67 years.

She was born Dec. 17, 1925, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Don and Loretta Kendall Jones. She attended one Catholic grade school and after graduation, attended Mary Manse College, an institution sponsored by the Ursuline Order. She graduated in 1947 with a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry and worked as an analytical chemist for DuPont in Cleveland for nine months before entering monastic life.

After learning about the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration from one of the congregation’s booklets she read while on a weekend retreat, she realized God was leading her in the direction of a contemplative religious community.

She entered at the Clyde, Missouri, monastery on May 24, 1948. Sister Audrey made her first monastic profession on April 13, 1950, taking the name Sister Rosalita. She made her final vows on May 3, 1955, and later took part in the Consecration of Virgins on Aug. 15, 1965. She received permission to use her baptismal name and became Sister Mary Audrey in 1968.

Her early years saw her working in the altar bread department and in the printery. She and three fellow Benedictine Sisters attended the Benedictine Institute of Sacred Theology (BIST) each summer in Minnesota from 1958 to 1963 and graduated from the program with a master’s degree in religious studies and monasticism.

Sister Audrey served in many leadership roles. She was postulant director many times, subprioress of the monasteries in San Diego, Tucson, Arizona, and Mundelein, Illinois, and prioress of the Clyde and Mundelein monasteries.

She was elected prioress general for two terms during the years 1974 to 1982. Her first term began with the congregation celebrating its centennial year. The chapter that elected her also mandated a process of revising the provisional constitution of the congregation.

Those eight years were filled with experimentation and change, including adoption of a new congregational emblem, construction of a new healthcare wing at the St. Louis monastery for nursing care for the retired sisters, encouraged sisters who studied the Church Fathers to lead two-year courses to the community, initiated an experiment in small group living at Rickenbach Center in Clyde, oversaw the closing of the Mundelein monastery, planned for and called to order the first General Assembly in 1978, sent a Sister to teach formation and liturgy to the Benedictine Sisters in Tororo, Uganda, collaborated with other religious groups in the nation working for peace and an end to the nuclear weapons build up, encouraged the compilation of the letters and biographies of the early Sisters of the congregation, led the congregation’s celebration of the 1,500th anniversary of St. Benedict’s birth in 1980 and led efforts in future planning that included an independent study of the viability of the buildings based on membership changes.

Toward the end of her eight years as prioress general, Sister Audrey led conferences on the Rule of Benedict and on the congregation’s charism.  After many drafts and consultations with the Sisters, she completed work on the 1982 Constitution. She also investigated the possibility of making a small new foundation after an invitation from Bishop Joseph Hart in Wyoming. This evolved into a new monastery, of which she was one of the first members (1983-87) after her terms as prioress general ended.

It was also during her time as prioress general that the formal request was made to build an ashram-style monastic community in Oklahoma, which later become Osage Forest of Peace in Sand Springs. 

She also served as director of the correspondence department and served as junior sister director. In her later years, she was a friendly face at the Clyde door where she served as portress and greeted visitors to the monastery. Her hobbies were reading, knitting and taking walks. 

Sister Audrey was most grateful for her vocation to religious life. Also important to her were “the friendships I have made, the challenges that have helped me to grow and the endless blessings I have received.”

Her funeral liturgy and burial at the Benedictine Sisters’ Adoration Chapel and Mount Calvary Cemetery are scheduled for Feb. 22, 2018, in Clyde.